We need to romanticize Education
Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of mind to think. This is how Albert Einstein views the Education & its purpose. Herbert Spencer while delineating the aims of education says the goal of education is not knowledge but action. Aristotle considered human nature, habit and reason to be equally important forces to be cultivated in education. While taking the broader view of education these objectives should be among the learning outcomes in schools but unfortunately for a long time we have viewed education as the process of only receiving & acquisition of knowledge, values & beliefs. We have made education everything except easier & enjoyable. The remembrance of facts & memorization of knowledge, offshoots of our education, have overburden our little students with stress & a lot of anxiety. Our learning objectives & teaching methodology is same for all type of students which impacts learning adversely. We made no attempt to frame the learning objectives of primary & higher student. We are spoiling the fun of primary students by lecturing them instead of involving them in activity based learning or learning by doing. Our school environment provides little space to children to think, act, rejoice, and make fun while broadening their reasoning power. We have institutionalised academics but extra & co-curricular activities are not fully organised and institutionalised which has made our school education unattractive, schools as places to be fear off & school environment to be boredom.
Why is our school experience not pleasant to most of the students? Is it because there is a clash & contradiction between child psychology, school environment, curriculum & methodology. When same teaching methodology is adopted in both higher & primary level, there obviously will be learning crises. We need some structural changes in our school system. We need to invest & bring new ideas, techniques & methodology as Benjamin Franklin says an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. We need to bring fun, action & activities in our methodology. Activity based learning is the need of hour. Why cannot be our schools as places of fun apart imparting education? We need glorification of good teachers & romanticization of education by holding regular classes on art, Poetry, painting, storytelling, Educational videos, crafts, theatre etc.
The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” This Assertion of C.S. Lewis reminds us the sorry state of education & the need to work hard. In last couple of years we must admit that the dryness of desert was minimized to some extent as a lot work was done for the improvement of education & credit must be given to all stockholders including education ministry, DSEK & teachers as well. Many good initiatives have taken by education department which have won a lot of praise from public & latest is the opening of winter camps for 3rd-7th class students. The DSEK is organising two winter camps in every educational zone of Kashmir division for 3rd to 7th standard students. These winter camps are organised in collaboration with Pratham Education Foundation (NGO). These winter camps are different from normal schooling. Teaching mythology will be different, school environment will be pleasant & there will be a lot of fun. The teachers who will teach in winter camps have been trained in Activity Based Learning (ABL) & Art/craft etc. by Pratham resource persons in every district of Kashmir division. Poetry, painting, storytelling, Educational videos, crafts, theatre etc. will be the special attraction of these winter camps. These winter camps will be unique in the sense that besides regular subjects, the focus will also be on Co-curricular activities with a dedicated time slot in the time table. These winter camps will involve following components:
1: Regular Academic study of all subject
2: Activity Based Learning as the teaching methodology
3: Baseline Assessment of all students to check their learning level in English, Math & Urdu.
4: Special classes on art, painting and craft daily.
5: Remedial teaching & learning for students whose learning level doesn’t match the standard in which they are reading.
6: Writing skill will be checked & tested of all students individually in English & Urdu. Students with week writing skill will be given proper attention to improve their writing skill.
7: These winter camps will be free & students from Govt. as well as private students can enrol themselves in the camps.
8: Project work for every subject.
9: Focus on what students are lacking in minimum levels of learning.
These winter camps are operational now in every Zone. There was an overwhelming response & huge participation of students in these winter camps. The opening of these winter camps have brought smiles on the faces of those parents who cannot afford private tuition for their kids in winter and thank Govt. for this noble initiative. To make winter camps successful, the resource persons of the concerned zone & resources persons from Pratham education foundation make regular visits to these camps to help teachers and monitor the performance of the camps.
Author works For Pratham Education Foundation (NGO) as District Resource Leader (DRL) for District Pulwama, Kashmir